A beer that neither gender will particularly like

September 13, 2011

It’s no secret that we like beer here at Renal Failure. I consider myself a beer snob with a predilection toward darker beers, though I don’t care for IPA’s because I don’t care for overly hoppy beers. I enjoy finding weird little beers and giving them a try, most of it depending on how clever the beer’s name is. Because when you craft a beer, you’d best do it the great service of naming it something cool.

With that in mind, you can see how we’re already put off by this new beer called “Chick.”  Further putting us off is the fact that is “Chick” is a beer that is directly marketed to women, as seen with its cliched pink color scheme, the slinky dress on the label, and its festive font that’s more suited for a party invitation than a beer label.

Now we haven’t tasted a Chick yet… wait, start over… we haven’t put our lips around… wait, start over… we haven’t had a Chick yet and… damn it!  We have yet to sample one of these beers yet, but this Village Voice interview with its brewer Shazz Lewis has our Renal Failure players sharpening their mockery claws.

My husband owns a wine and spirits store in Easton, Maryland. One day, I was looking at the beer cooler — and we have over 400 beers — but there was nothing that shouted out “female.” As a woman and mother of five daughters, I’m focused on that sort of thing. [That notion] kept kind of festering and then I did the research. Women consume 25 percent of all the beer in the United States. That’s 700 million cases a year. I thought, “This is really interesting, and why hasn’t this segment of the market been addressed?”

“I wasn’t aware my beer was gender specific,”  says Mikka.  “Well, maybe beers like Samuel Adams are, but what is the criteria for a beer to be considered male? I like Arrogant Bastard Ale and it has a gargoyle on the bottle. Does that make it a male beer?  Is my Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale male or female?  Who is the governing body on this?”

“This isn’t a bad idea considering most beer commercials are about men being overly manly or men gawking at women,” says Tina the Lesbian.  “The solution to that problem, however, is making better beer commercials that don’t play into these eye-rolling hyper-masculine stereotypes. It isn’t making a beer that plays into trite female cliches.”

I knew I needed it not to be a gimmick. The beer had to be good. I looked at who was drinking most of the beer and the target market is really 21- to 35-year-old women. The ones who were out at night partying and getting together with friends. What they were drinking was American light lagers. We looked for brewers and tasted lots of beer and went with Minhas in Wisconsin. The beer they brew for us has 97 calories and 3.5 carbs but also a very mellow beer flavor. It has a very rounded, full flavor. People say, “I can’t believe this is a light beer.”

“Oh Goddess forbid women drink something with calories in it,”  says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp.  “Wouldn’t want women to actually enjoy themselves with a full-fledged beer. They have figures to maintain to please their men.”

“I’m willing to bet straight shots of whiskey have less calories than beer,” says Anonymous Doug.  “They certainly will get you drunk quicker and you won’t have to piss as much either.  I love a girl who tastes like Jack Daniels and desperation.”

“Ladies, if you desire a beer with a small amount of calories, go with Guinness,”  says Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat.  “It’s only 126 calories per 12-oz. bottle and it will show that you are  a woman of taste and of class. Drinking Chick beer will do none of things. It will make men think you are high maintenance and live in a Sex in the City fantasy world. I think you can dance a little harder that night to burn off those 29 extra calories of Guinness.”

It’s funny, too, though — men love the beer. They just say, “We’ll pour it in a glass.”

“Strong enough for a man, but brewed for a woman,”  says Ninja Vicki.  “How was that not the slogan for this beer?”

“Men will pour it into a glass because they don’t want some drunk asshole in the mood for some gay-bashing coming up to them at the bar and picking a fight,” says Samurai Cathy.  “Bars and pubs are not beacons of enlightenment or social evolution.”

So are you a beer drinker yourself?

Oh, yes, I love all kinds of beers. I’m a craft-beer drinker. And American light lagers. One favorite of mine is Guinness. But what I wanted to do is give women a choice.

What exactly is that choice? What makes Chick specifically girlie?

It’s very mellow. It has a little less carbonation so it doesn’t make you burp. There’s no bitterness, and I think that was the big appeal for women.

“I like my women belching loud and proud,” says Anonymous Doug.  “Mainly so she won’t be put off by my belching either.  Your body makes funny noises, embrace it.”

“If a girl doesn’t burp, that’s a sign she’s either a Cylon, a replicant, or a Terminator,” says Mikka.  “She will eventually try to kill you.  Get away while you can.”

I have daughters who are so powerful and so unconcerned that a labeling has anything to do with who they are or represent. That’s one reason why I used the word “chick.” That’s actually what men used to call subpar or light beer. I happen to think all things chick are terrific.

“I’m all for removing the negative connotations on words regarding femininity like ‘chick,’ but you’ve already admitted toning down your beer for women to drink,” says Tina the Lesbian.  “You’re pretty much saying that ‘chick’ still means weaker and watered down, just not as much as it used to be.  It’s just a slightly better mediocre.”

“You want chick to be used seen in a more favorable light, add more explosions,” says Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat.  “You see a ‘guy’ movie, you’re going to see shit blowing up.  You see a ‘chick’ movie, you’re going to see women crying.  It’s pretty clear which is more awesome.”

“I don’t want chick to mean ‘better than piss-water Miller Lite,'” says Ninja Vicki.  “I want chick to mean bad-ass.  Like me.  I’m going to steal the word ‘chick’ and make it mean bad-ass sword-swinging ninja girl.”

One woman said to me that [Chick] will set women back 70 years and I said, “Really, a beer brand? I think women have come farther than that.”

“It doesn’t set back women any amount of years, but it doesn’t necessarily pull us forward any amount of time either,”  says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp.  “And that’s what I find disappointing, that this opportunity to advance women in the beer field was squandered on a pink bottle with a low-cut dress on it.”

“I was going to say maybe she should have done what the Samuel Adams people did and base their beer off an American historical figure, but use a female figure like Susan B. Anthony,” says Samurai Cathy.  “But then I remembered she was involved in the temperance movement that got alcohol outlawed in the early 20th century.  Was Betsy Ross a beer drinker?  Use her for your next beer creation designed for women.”

There is no word yet if the next step for woman-centric beers from Shazz Lewis is a “Babe” IPA, or a “Ovarian” Stout, or a “Cunt” Pale Ale.  I’d like to see a beer marketed directly to lesbians.  They deserve a drink of their own. Gay men have had Zima for years.



  1. I think it is very odd that they came out with a beer specifically for women. I don’t think it’ll go over well. Girls who like beer, will stick to what they drink. And those girls who do not, will most likely not drink such an oddly looking beer.

  2. What ever ails these people?

    Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA all around, guys, because I DO like hoppy beer that leaves fur on your teeth, and what’s this about not wanting to piss as much? A good beer irrigation gets the clinkers out of your cell membranes.

  3. i wonder if I taste like Jack Daniels and desperation. Hardly likely since usually drink gin

  4. Is Laphroaig an acceptable substitute for JD since I’m in Scotland?

  5. have you tried Mothership by NewBelgim? It is a good one that fits into your favorite criteria.

  6. Your insight into feminist cultural issues is always impressively mind-boggling. Drink Trois Pistoles.

  7. Chick Beer sounds great lOL. I have nominated you for the “Versatile Blogger” award and tagged you in my post here: http://psychodynamom.com/2011/09/16/you-like-me-you-really-like-me/
    Hope you enjoy & keep up the good work!

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